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A healthy and thriving startup ecosystem is vital in helping the regional economy which the former is a subset to to be innovative and resilient, thus able to weather market volatilities caused by various macroeconomic factors. Although there is substantial literature in the United States expounding the components of a desirable startup ecosystem, lesser attention is being paid to this subject matter in most parts of Asia.
Building a robust local startup ecosystem is not a case of imitating best practices elsewhere although oftentimes this is the fastest way to learn about one’s own deficiencies. No different from building a startup, a startup ecosystem builder must also identify which problems are worth solving and/or which values can be delivered best, validate assumptions, and build something the startup ecosystem wants. And yes, there is actually a role called startup ecosystem builder, and it is time to recognise who is one and how roles and responsibilities can be defined and shared.
An important realisation to have as early as practicable is that not every startup ecosystem can be built the same, each comes with its own strengths and limitations etc, even the mature startup ecosystem like the one in Silicon Valley is not without its constraints. Instead of trying to overcome every obstacle, work with startup ecosystem builders from other regions and establish unique strategic synergies collectively.
A good startup ecosystem builder gels the different ecosystem stakeholders together through mutually-beneficial initiatives. A great startup ecosystem builder gels the different startup ecosystems together to create global and sustainable impacts. Vision defines boundaries, so time to aim high.
Before MNT Ventures and Zino Innovation Hub, Jeffrey ran a tourism accelerator in NZ. Prior to these, he spent 8 years doing a lot of startup stuff while in Taiwan, including his own legal startup, joined 2 Korean startups (enterprise SaaS and travel tech respectively), as well as Taiwan Startup Stadium (TSS) dealing with startup development, investor relations and corporate innovation; while at TSS, he worked with over 400 investors and over 130 tech startup members covering various verticals. Before the startup journey, he spent 10 years as a legal professional, both law firm and in-house.
Jeffrey was born and raised in Malaysia and spent an extended time in NZ before transitioning to Taiwan and was there for 12 years. He is now back in NZ to spend some quality time with his family. He has three degrees (Commerce, Arts, Law) from Canterbury University (New Zealand) and an MBA (Entrepreneurship) from National Chengchi University (Taiwan).
Topics of Interest: Legal Tech, Enterprise SaaS, Agritech, Food Tech, Travel Tech, Cross Border Venture Building, Impact Venture Building, Accelerator-as-a-Service, Corporate Innovation, Angel Investing, Merger & Acquisition
David Kuo is the co-founder and CEO of iiiNNO, a startup launchpad based in Taipei with an early-stage investment of 25K to 50K USD. He is committed to collaborating with startup founders to achieve 10X growth via business model validation and to acquire the first customer in the new Asian markets. David speaks and shares frequently in Asia on how to build a sustainable ecosystem and how to build a successful cross border startup team with founders, ecosystem builders and policymakers. Moreover, he contributes to the development of the Taiwan and Asia ecosystem by rolling out global initiatives and program locally such as Startup Weekend / Startup Grind and GEN Global in Taiwan since 2011.
Chapter Director SarawakSee Bio
Malcolm is the Strategic Manager for iCube, Sarawak’s leading co-working space and community for entrepreneurs. He leads strategic partnerships, supports local startups and entrepreneurs in scaling their business and develops global connecting platforms to showcase Sarawak’s growing startup ecosystem. Malcolm is a firm believe in the power of #GiveFirst and is an extremely active regional community leader where he support founders through a myriad of startup programs. He created Free Coworking Day (FCWD) in mid 2017 which has since connected over 90 co-working spaces throughout 120 locations in Asia Pacific. Malcolm is a certified Techstars Global Startup Weekend Facilitator and has facilitated 14 programs in Malaysia. He is also the Chapter Lead for Google Business Group Sarawak, and Scout for AWS Activate Program.